Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Lahore Organiser Shafqat Mahmood announced 21 local government candidate selection committees for respective provincial constituencies in Lahore at a press conference on Friday.
He said the government was attempting pre-poll rigging ahead of local government polls and asked the Election Commission of Pakistan to take notice of development funds being given to candidates the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz plans to field.
Mahmood said the local polls were a priority for the PTI. “We think the government might turn back from its word to hold local government polls.” He urged the chief minister to devolve powers to the people. “In the last seven years, the government has shirked from holding local government elections.”
He also accused the government of hoarding funds for the local government institutions to fund its “favourite projects”. He criticised the government’s plan to construct a signal-free corridor from Liberty Market to Mozang Chungi, calling it “foolish”.
Candidate selection committee have been formed for constituencies including PP 137 and PP138 under NA 118; PP141 and PP 142 under NA 119; PP 139 and PP 140 under NA 120; PP 149 and PP 150 under NA 121; PP 147 and PP 148 under NA 122; PP 143 and PP 144 under NA 123; PP 145 and PP 146 under NA 124; PP 151 and PP 152 under NA 126; PP 153 and PP 154 under NA127; PP 160 and PP 161 under NA 128; and PP 159 under NA 129. The committee for NA 130 will be announced later.
Mahmood will be in the committee for PP 151 and PP 152 under NA 126; Ejaz Chauhdry will be in the committee for PP 153 and PP 154 under NA 127; and Aleem Khan and Shoaib Siddiqi in PP 147 and PP 148 under NA 122.
Mahmood alleged that the government had given his share of development funds to his rival from his constituency, PML-N’s Khawaja Ahmed Hassaan and was now attempting to appoint its own people as civil servants. He said the ECP must take note of the government’s gerrymandering. “This is pre-poll rigging and we will challenge it in court and on the streets.”
On the selection of candidates for the elections, Mahmood said that there were 23 provincial assembly constituencies in Lahore, each of which would have its own committee. The committees would be responsible for selecting chairmen and vice chairmen of their respective union councils. Later, in consultation with the UC chairmen and vice chairmen, the committees will nominate councillors. Appeals challenging the nominations will be taken up by district level committees.
He said a legal committee has also been formed that would look into mismanagement during elections. Commenting on political differences within the party, he said it happened. He said he had tried to address the matter since he took charge.
“All groups have accepted me as the Lahore organiser. I am from Imran Khan’s group and will unite everyone under this group.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2015.